Tesla Model S Review

April 16, 2023
EV Universe
EV Universe

Tesla Model S Overview

The impact of the Tesla Model S cannot be overstated. It marked the beginning of Tesla’s rise to prominence in the electric vehicle market and eventual domination of the automotive industry. With the aim of creating an electric car that could match the performance of gasoline-powered sport sedans like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Tesla CEO Elon Musk set his team on a mission to create a game-changing vehicle. The result was the Model S, which was first revealed in production form for the 2012 model year.


Since then, the Model S has been a showcase for Tesla’s cutting-edge battery and performance technology, earning widespread acclaim and breaking numerous records. Despite a significant price increase from the original mid-$50k entry point, the 2023 Model S is even more powerful and luxurious, boasting a starting price tag of nearly $90,000.


In our in-depth review, discover how the Tesla Model S became an iconic symbol of the electric vehicle revolution, thanks to its sleek design, impressive range, and groundbreaking technology. Explore how this pioneering vehicle continues to push the boundaries of sustainable transportation, inspiring a new generation of drivers.


Tesla Model S EVU Hot Take


  • One of the original EVs that has true legend status and a testament to Tesla’s engineering might
  • Blistering performance and engaging handling 
  • Great range and Tesla’s ever-evolving approach to tech will keep it updated



  • Interior is significantly nicer than earlier model years but still vastly underwhelming compared to luxury competition 
  • More legitimate competitors from legacy brands now, makes it look less unique
  • Dated and expensive 


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Tesla Model S Exterior Design and Packaging

The Tesla Model S is an electric sport sedan that boasts a sleek profile reminiscent of its luxury ICE competitors like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6. Unlike other electric vehicles at the time of its debut, it was designed to look like a “normal” car, which many experts believe contributed to its widespread appeal. Its signature long, hooded front end features no grille and is emblazoned with the iconic “T” Tesla logo.


The car’s side profile boasts recessed door handles and frameless windows, while the liftgate-style trunk provides ample cargo space. All Model S models now come equipped with a panoramic glass roof, similar to the Model X SUV, for an added touch of luxury. The current iteration of the Model S comes in two distinct configurations that prioritize a sporty, performance-oriented look over the earlier luxury-oriented aesthetic.


Tesla Model S EV Profile front center EVU

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc

Tesla Model S Interior, Features and Tech

The Tesla Model S is not only known for its battery and performance innovation, but also for its ultra-simplified interior design that has set it apart from its competitors. The modern Model S’s interior boasts a minimalistic design with a dominant central infotainment screen that controls all vehicle functions. Originally a portrait screen that spanned the entire dashboard, it has since evolved into a landscape floating-style screen that still remains a hallmark of the Model S. The digital gauge cluster has also evolved to be much richer and higher-quality than earlier model years. The Model S made headlines with its yoke steering wheel, but a standard-style wheel has since been made available. For a full list of the Model S’s impressive tech features, head over to Tesla.com.


Tesla Model S interior


Tesla Model S Autopilot Review

Tesla’s controversial “Autopilot” system is available on the Model S, and it’s a subject of much debate. Different versions of the system exist, depending on the package you choose. The entry-level system includes dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance, and visual and auditory alerts to help keep you safe on the road. However, it’s important to note that the “Full Self-Driving” package, which costs $6,000, is not fully self-driving, despite the name. Tesla has faced congressional inquiries over its claims about the system’s capabilities.


The Autopilot system uses cameras, radar sensors, and ultrasonic sensors to detect and respond to surrounding traffic and road conditions. It includes automatic emergency braking, which can help prevent or mitigate collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. It can also detect and respond to traffic lights and stop signs, allowing the car to come to a complete stop and resume driving when prompted by the driver.


While Tesla has made bold claims about the Autopilot system’s superiority, it’s worth noting that many other car brands use similar technology and hardware to achieve similar results. The key difference with Tesla is that they allow the Autopilot system to make more decisions and exert more control over the vehicle than other manufacturers do.


Tesla Model S Driving Experience

The Tesla Model S is widely regarded as one of the best-performing electric cars ever made. Unlike some electric vehicles, which can be hampered by the weight of their batteries, the Model S was designed from the ground up to be an electric car. Its “skateboard” structure, which also underpins other Tesla models, provides a low center of gravity for superior handling and grip in corners. The steering is direct and linear, with a European-inspired feel that sets it apart from other electric cars.


The Model S is available in two configurations: a dual-motor, long-range AWD setup or the top-of-the-line “Plaid” trim, which boasts an impressive 1,020 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of just 1.99 seconds. While some have disputed Tesla’s claims about the car’s performance, there is no denying that the Model S is one of the fastest production cars ever made. It’s an impressive feat for an electric vehicle, and a testament to Tesla’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with battery-powered cars.


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Tesla Model S Electric Range and Charging

Tesla Model S charging


The Tesla Model S is a renowned electric vehicle for its impressive range and charging capabilities. It’s considered a benchmark for electric range, and only a few competitors in the market can outdo it. The Dual Motor Long Range model boasts a quoted range of 405 miles, although multiple outlets have significantly disputed this number in testing. Similarly, the Plaid model’s claimed range of 396 miles has also been heavily disputed by many outlets. However, despite these controversies, the Model S remains a fan favorite among the EV community.


The Long Range Model S is equipped with a 98 kWh battery pack mated to two electric motors on the front and rear axle, while the Plaid model has a slightly bigger 99.3 kWh pack mated to one electric motor on the front axle and dual electric motors on the rear. Both models can take advantage of Tesla’s Supercharger network, which can recharge the battery to full capacity in just 30 minutes. The Model S can accept up to 16.5 kW from AC chargers and up to 250 kW from DC and Superchargers.


Whether you’re on a long road trip or simply need to top up your battery, the Model S charging capabilities make it a convenient and practical option for electric vehicle owners. With its cutting-edge technology, impressive range, and fast charging times, it’s no wonder the Model S continues to dominate the electric vehicle market.


Tesla Model S Home Charging 

Tesla has made significant strides in building out a robust charging infrastructure for its electric vehicles. That said, charging at home is still the most convenient and cost-effective way to keep your Tesla topped up. Tesla offers two main home charging solutions: the Tesla Wall Connector and Mobile Connector.


The Tesla Wall Connector is a hardwired unit designed for home or garage installation. It provides the fastest charging speeds for your Tesla, delive6ing up to 44 miles of range per hour. This Wall Connector is available in two versions. One charges at up to 48 amps, while the other (no longer sold) charges at up to 80 amps, depending on your home’s electrical supply.


The Mobile Connector, on the other hand, is a portable charging solution that can be plugged into a standard 120-volt household outlet or a 240-volt outlet for faster charging. It can deliver up to 30 miles of range per hour on a 240-volt outlet. Please note that the Mobile Connector is no longer a standard accessory and is now a paid option.


To use these charging solutions, you may need to purchase an adapter that is compatible with the type of outlet you’ll be using, or with the Tesla Wall Connector, which can also be hardwired by an electrician. At EV Universe, we offer a range of accessories to help you manage your charging, including a Wall Connector cable organizer, multiple adapters, and more. Browse our entire selection on evuniverse.com and find the perfect charging solution for your Tesla today.


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Tesla Model S Model Year Variance

The Tesla Model S has been continuously updated and refined since its introduction in 2012, making it a unique and ever-evolving vehicle in the automotive landscape. If you’re in the market for a pre-owned Model S, it’s important to know the key milestones that have occurred throughout the years.


In 2012, the Model S was first introduced with three different battery options and a range of up to 265 miles per charge. Two years later, the 2014 model year received a new front fascia design, a new interior with updated features, and a new Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive option. In 2015, the Model S received a new Autopilot system and an improved 85 kWh battery providing up to 270 miles per charge.


The 2016 Model S received several updates, including a new front fascia design, new headlights, and a new 100 kWh battery option providing a range of up to 315 miles per charge. A newly introduced Ludicrous Speed option allowed the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds.


The 2017 Model S received a new front fascia design, updates to the interior, and improved Autopilot features. In 2018, Tesla introduced a new exterior paint option, updated the interior with new features such as a wireless phone charging pad, and updated the Autopilot system with Navigate on Autopilot. The 2019 Model S received several updates, including a new suspension system, improved range, and updated Autopilot features such as Smart Summon.


Tesla Model S EV Profile interior view EVU

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc


More recent updates to the Model S include a new exterior design, a larger panoramic glass roof, and a new interior that significantly improved quality in the 2020 and 2021 models. The highly popular “Plaid” model came out in 2021, and the 2023 Model S lineup was simplified to only two trim levels, Long Range and Plaid.


Overall, the Tesla Model S has continuously pushed the boundaries of electric vehicle technology and performance, making it a unique and exciting option for those in the market for a pre-owned electric vehicle.


Tesla Model S Pricing

If you’re in the market for a Model S, it’s important to keep up with the latest pricing information. As of April 2023, the Long Range Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive model starts at $89,990, while the Plaid model starts at $109,990. However, it’s worth noting that Tesla pricing can change frequently. Additionally, due to new federal tax credit rules, the Model S no longer qualifies for tax credits based on its price alone. Prices for used Model S vehicles can vary widely depending on the model year and condition, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. If you’re looking for a pre-owned Model S, EV Universe offers a wide selection of listings to browse through.


Final Thoughts 

The Tesla Model S has earned its place in the history books as one of the most impactful vehicles of all time. As one of the earliest mass-market electric vehicles, it paved the way for Tesla to become a major player in the automotive industry and accelerated the shift towards sustainable transportation. Even though it’s been on the market for over a decade, the Model S remains relevant and cutting-edge thanks to Tesla’s continuous improvements in design, performance, and technology. While it may not be brand new in our review, it’s far from obsolete and still satisfies the needs of many electric drivers. Although a larger overhaul may be in its future, the Model S’s legacy as a game-changer in the EV market is secure.


Feature Image Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

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